Album review: George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Born to Be Bad (1988)


By Steve Newton

When it comes to party-time, rockin’ blues, few people deliver with the same kind of no-frills, honest urgency as George Thorogood. Well, the bad-ass guitar ace from Wilmington, Delaware has come through with another sturdy collection of originals and classic blues covers that should keep his constantly growing legion of fans more than satisfied.

Legendary guitarist Elmore James is one of the blues masters that Thorogood likes to cover on his LPs. He did James’ “Madison Blues” and “Can’t Stop Lovin” on his debut album, and “Goodbye Baby” on More George Thorogood & the Destroyers, so he kicks off Born to Be Bad with the slide-infested James gem “Shake Your Money Maker”. Thorogood continues his admirable tradition of bringing old blues standards to an ’80s audience with a couple of Howlin’ Wolf’s most memorable numbers, “Smokestack Lightning” and “Highway 49”.

And what would a Thorogood disc be without at least one Chuck Berry tune? George follows up past covers of “Nadine”, “No Particular Place to Go”‘, and “Memphis, Tennessee” with a Destroyerized version of Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me”.

But covers aside, Thorogood also gets top marks for his own compositions here. The cool rebelliousness of the title track, and the tongue-in-cheek machismo of “I Really Like Girls” and the first single “You Talk Too Much” sounds just fine with the volume knob cranked close to eviction level.


Leave a Reply